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Call of Duty, Diablo and Overwatch will come to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft confirms
Microsoft has spoken about its Activision Blizzard acquisition after the UK's competition regulator announced it would scrutinize the deal in detail
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: CoD on Game Pass
📝 Microsoft has published a blog post addressing its pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard
🤩 The blog post confirms titles like Call of Duty, Diablo and Overwatch will come to Xbox Game Pass
🤝 Microsoft also reiterates its commitment to releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles
🕵️ It comes after the UK competition regulator said it would investigate the Activision Blizzard acquisition more closely
Microsoft has confirmed that Activision Blizzard titles such as Call of Duty, Diablo, and Overwatch will come to Xbox Game Pass, should the company’s $68.7 billion acquisition be successful.
Microsoft CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer published a blog post outlining the company’s view of the pending takeover. Once the deal goes through, key titles in Activision Blizzard’s library will come to Xbox Game Pass.
“We intend to make Activision Blizzard’s much-loved library of games – including Overwatch, Diablo and Call of Duty – available in Game Pass and to grow those gaming communities,” said Spencer. “By delivering even more value to players, we hope to continue growing Game Pass, extending its appeal to mobile phones and any connected device.”
Spencer also reiterated that Call of Duty would be available on PlayStation consoles and won’t be exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms. Sony really doesn’t want Microsoft to own Call of Duty and has suggested that any type of exclusivity deal would “influence users’ choice of console.”
“We’ve heard that this deal might take franchises like Call of Duty away from the places where people currently play them. That’s why, as we’ve said before, we are committed to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation on the same day the game launches elsewhere,” Spencer said.
“We will continue to enable people to play with each other across platforms and across devices. We know players benefit from this approach because we’ve done it with Minecraft, which continues to be available on multiple platforms and has expanded to even more since Mojang joined Microsoft in 2014.
“As we extend our gaming storefront across new devices and platforms, we will make sure that we do so in a manner that protects the ability of developers to choose how to distribute their games.”
Spencer’s comments come after the UK’s competition regulator, the CMA, concluded that it required a more in-depth “phase 2” investigation into Microsoft’s pending acquisition.
In a press release, the CMA said it is “concerned that Microsoft’s anticipated purchase of Activision Blizzard could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services” and that “it could harm rivals, including recent and future entrants into gaming, by refusing them access to Activision Blizzard games or providing access on much worse terms.”
Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Director of Mergers at the CMA, said:
“Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming.
“If our current concerns are not addressed, we plan to explore this deal in an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to reach a decision that works in the interests of UK gamers and businesses.”
Microsoft’s president Brad Smith addressed the CMA’s comments and said, “We’re ready to work with the CMA on next steps and address any of its concerns. Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less.”
Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick also weighed in on the CMA’s conclusion in a public letter. Kotick said:
“With the number of government approvals required, we still believe the deal is most likely to close in Microsoft’s fiscal year ending June of next year. We are fortunate to have already received approvals from a couple of countries, and the process with all of the regulators is generally moving along as we expected.
“This week we heard from the United Kingdom, where we have more employees than anywhere except North America. We have entered the second phase of our review there, and we will continue to fully cooperate with the regulators there, and everywhere approvals are required.
“As our industry continues to see numerous companies investing aggressively in gaming, including many of the world’s largest technology and media companies, government regulators are taking appropriate and deliberate steps to better understand our industry and the growing competition from around the world.”
Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal got its first regulatory approval in August from Saudi Arabia, but it still needs approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Competition and Market Authority (CMA), and European Commission (EC).
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